As per the National Family Health Survey-3 (NFHS-3) published in 2005-06, 42.5% children under 5 years are underweight and 69.5% are anemic. In urban and rural areas, 32.7% and 45.6% children are underweight while prevalence of anemia among children is 63% and 71.5% respectively.
The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition particularly among children and is implementing several schemes/programmes of different Ministries/Departments through State Governments/UT Administrations. The schemes/programmes include the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Mid-Day Meal Scheme, new schemes on a pilot basis such as the Rajiv Gandhi Schemes for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) namely SABLA and theIndira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna (IGMSY) as the Direct targeted interventions. Besides, the indirect multi-sectoral interventions include Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), National Horticulture Mission, National Food Security Mission, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Total Sanitation Campaign, National Rural Drinking Water Programme etc. All these schemes have potential to address one or other aspect of Nutrition. Several of the existing schemes/programmes including ICDS have been expanded / universalized just before or during the Eleventh Five Year Plan, hence, the results are likely to be visible after some time.
Furthermore, some of the recent decisions by the Government to improve the nutrition situation have been to
(i) strengthen and restructure ICDS with special focus on pregnant and lactating mothers and children under three
(ii) prepare a multi-sectoral programme to address the maternal and child malnutrition in selected 200 high-burden districts
(iii) launch a nationwide information, education and communication campaign against malnutrition and
(iv) bring strong nutrition focus in programmes in sectors like health, drinking water supply and sanitation, school education, agriculture, food & public distribution.
In addition, the proposed National Food Security Bill is also expected to contribute towards food security. With the continuing attention to nutrition, the targeted interventions and the cumulative effect of various schemes including new schemes, the under-nutrition levels are expected to show a declining trend.
This was stated by the Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Krishna Tirath in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.
FEATURE H&FW B. Narzary * Reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate is the key goal feature of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme under the National Rural Health Mission. Several initiatives have been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare under the Mission including Janani Suraksha Yojana , a key intervention that has resulted in phenomenal growth in institutional deliveries with more than one crore women beneficiaries annually. JSY was launched to promote institutional deliveries so that skilled attendance at birth is made available and mothers and new born babies can be saved from pregnancy related complications and deaths.